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Grant program will give cash to veteran businesses

moneyInitiative hopes boosting pre-existing operations will help stabilize communities 

DETROIT — Nationwide, the media is buzzing about the transformation of Detroit’s downtown and midtown areas — the new stadiums, businesses, restaurants and apartment buildings, and the influx of new residents. Yet, many Detroit activists maintain this “rebirth” was only made possible by advantageous post-housing bubble land prices, and that residents, businesses and neighborhoods who survived disinvestment, the crack era and the recent recession, while serving their communities, are getting nothing or are being harmed by the city’s changes.

A new grant program, however, will soon be directing funds exclusively at small businesses that already exist and have done so for years.

Beginning May 8, Detroit, Highland Park and/or Hamtramck organizations that have been in business for three years or more will be eligible to apply for “NEIdeas” grants of $10,000 or $100,000. This fall, the New Economy Initiative, a special project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, will award 30 different businesses (that gross under $1 million annually) $10,000 each and two businesses (that expect to gross more than $1million) $100,000 to support/expand their existing operations.

“While we recognize and support all the energy around Detroit’s start up scene, we feel it’s important to celebrate the small existing businesses across Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park that have been the cornerstone of their communities for years,” said David Egner, executive director, NEI. “More importantly, by providing some capital assistance and connecting them to resources, we feel we can help them grow and create jobs, further strengthening their neighborhoods.”

“Today, there are thousands of small businesses in the city of Detroit that employ only one or two people,” said Mayor Duggan. “Receiving a strategic infusion of cash like this can be just the boost an existing small company needs to grow and create more jobs for our local economy.”

The application for NEIdeas will be available online beginning May 8 at NEIdeasDetroit.org.

Printed applications will also be available at more than 20 community organizations, associations and churches across Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park. Ten-thousand grant applicants must submit by June 5; $100,000 applicants must submit by June 26.

After the application period closes, NEIdeas says it will narrow the pool of applicants and forward the semi-finalists to a jury, comprised of “empathetic entrepreneurs, non-profit partners and corporate partners that will be able to evaluate applicants without themselves being able to participate in the NEIdeas challenge.”

Learn more or apply by visiting NEIdeasDetroit.org or calling 1.844.634.3327.

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